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Open Educational Resources: Evaluating OER for Quality

A guide for faculty to assist with finding and adopting quality Open Educational Resources that help reduce the cost of course materials for students

Evaluating Resources: A Checklist

For Open Educational Resources (OER), use a similar evaluation process as you would when assessing a new textbook or other course materials you are interested in adding to your class. Here are some suggested steps and questions to ask:

  1. Does this OER cover the content you'd like your students to learn in this course or module?
  2. Who created this content?
    • What can you learn about the author(s) of the material?
    • Has it been peer and/or quality reviewed?
    • Is that information easily located? 
  3. How comprehensible is this content?
    • Will it be understandable for your students or is it too technical? Or, vice versa, is the content robust and challenging enough for your students?
  4. Does the content meet minimum accessibility guidelines and best practices? 
    • Is the content accessible to students with disabilities through the compatibility of third-party reading applications?
    • If you are using Web resources, does each image have alternate text that can be read?
    • Do videos have accurate closed-captioning?
    • Are students able to access the materials in a quick, non-restrictive manner? 
  5. How can you use the content? Verify the resource is under an open license. 
    • Can you remix or revise the OER as long as it is not for commercial purposes?
    • Who do you have to recognize if you use it?
    • Will you be able to do so? 
  6. Once you determine how you can use the OER, what would you like to do with it?
    • Does only a portion of it apply to your class?
    • Would you possibly want to combine this OER with another OER or resource?
    • Does the library have access to articles that could act as supplemental readings?
  7. As you collect more OER and other resources, save them in a central location. Take note of how you envision using them. Align these resources with the learning objectives and weekly lessons on your syllabus in order to identify gaps. 

Adapted from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library's Evaluate OER page with additional content from Affordable Learning Georgia.

Additional Recommended Guidelines for Evaluating Resources